Many people have asked me over the years how I always manage to be so happy. After my father died when I was 19, and when I was going through a divorce at age 22, people used to say they never would've guessed what I was going through, because they thought I was always smiling.
Visualize what you want clearly and you'll notice an immediate shift in how you feel.I've learned that being self-reliant and teaching others to be self-reliant in any circumstance is one of my biggest gifts. That's why I like when people ask me how I stay so upbeat. Because the answer — in short — is that I don't. Some days I feel so overwhelmed that I just want to give up entirely.
But one of the reasons I'm very happy overall is that I don’t allow my negative thoughts to control me for too long. Deep down I know that whatever suffering I am going through will eventually pass.
I also have a few tricks (after so many years as a self-help junkie!) that ensure I stay on the right emotional track. These things keep me in tune with the high-frequency vibration of joy and love that I want to be a part of in the world. Here they are:
1. I make sure my spare time is occupied with projects I love.
The underutilized mind is not a happy mind. I write almost every day to ensure that I'm always working on multiple projects that inspire and stretch me. Aside from my valued downtime and meditation, I'm a very busy person, which leaves little opportunity for rumination and overthinking.
2. I give as much as I can.
It gives me a lot of joy to compliment others, make other people feel special and dial up the kindness wherever I go. Try this! It never fails to give me a boost, as we always keep what we give away.
3. I focus on and visualize what I want.
My mind can easily veer into “worst-case scenario” mode unless I consciously uninvite those thoughts. I consistently remind myself why I'm doing what I'm doing and what it is I want to achieve.
Visualize what you want clearly and you'll notice an immediate shift in how you feel. Visualization also makes you incredibly creative in terms of taking action and making your dreams a reality.
4. I ask for what I want (and don't feel guilty about getting it).
Whether it's a better table at a Central Park restaurant or the rates I command for different projects, asking for what I want ensures that I feel assertive, authentic and free. Silencing your desires is like taking a weakening drug. The only cure is to identify what matters to you, give yourself permission to know you deserve it and honor yourself by asking for it. I regularly ask myself, "What do I really want?" and allow my heart to lead the way.
5. I think of how happy my past self would have been to have my current life.
Five or 10 years ago if someone told me that I would have the life that I enjoy now, I would have been extremely happy. I'm sure A LOT of you would feel the same way about where you are in your life. I remind myself regularly that while I'll always be working toward something new, I'm still doing OK in the present moment.
6. I consume inspirational material EVERY single day.
If I miss a day, I notice it. I listen to podcasts, I read books, and I make it a point to go to inspirational websites. External inspiration massively feeds internal inspiration. I can't live without it.
It’s a simple list, but it works for me.